Payroll tax fees for new loansStarting soon, nearly all home buyers and refinancing households throughout California and nationwide will pay higher mortgage loan fees. Congress has made it law.

13 months ago, as part of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010, Congress enacted a one-year cut to FICA payroll taxes.

FICA stands for Federal Insurance Contributions Act. Taxes collected under FICA fund such programs as Social Security and Medicare.

The stimulus plan temporarily lowered tax rates for salaried workers from 6.2% to 4.2%; and for self-employed persons from 12.4% to 10.4%. Effective January 1, 2012, “regular” tax rates were to return.

That is, until late-December 2011. In one of its last moves of the year, Congress passed a temporary, two-month extension to the payroll tax cut, extending it through February 29, 2012. The expected cost to the U.S. Treasury is $33 billion.

To recoup those costs, Congress has turned to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the FHA.

Each entity has been ordered to collect news fees on each new mortgage is backs, and has been told to forward said fees to U.S. Treasury directly. There’s no “workaround” allowed or forgiveness applied — each new loan is subject to the payment. 

The rules are listed on page 17 of the law’s final draft, in a section unambiguously titled “Title IV — Mortgage Fees and Premiums”.

According to the law :

  • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac must collect an average fee of no less than 10 basis points (0.1%) per new loan
  • The FHA must raise its monthly mortgage insurance premiums 10 basis points for all new loans

The expected cost to consumers is no less than $10 monthly per $100,000 borrowed. Some analysts, however, expect Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to collect more than is minimally required. This could add an additional $30-50 to your monthly mortgage payment per $100,000 borrowed.

Therefore, if you’ve been shopping for a home or for mortgage rates in San Jose , take advantage. Within days, lenders are expected to start collecting Payroll Tax Extension fees from mortgage applicants — a move that will cost you money.

Lock today to avoid the big fees. Save yourself money.

 | Posted by | Categories: The Economy | Tagged: , , |

Unemployment RateIf you’re floating a mortgage rate, or have yet to lock one in, today may be a good day to call your loan officer. Friday morning, the government releases its Non-Farm Payrolls report at 8:30 AM ET.

The Non-Farm Payrolls report is more commonly called the “jobs report” and, lately, it’s been Wall Street’s domestic economic metric of choice. As jobs go, so go markets.

In the 12 months beginning November 2007, the economy shed 2.3 million on its way to losing more than 7 million jobs by the end of 2009.

It’s no coincidence that the stock market has been wayward. Jobs are a keystone in the U.S. economy and the connection between jobs and growth is straight-forward :

  1. Workers spend more than non-workers and consumer spending is the economy’s largest single component 
  2. Workers pay more taxes to governments and, when governments have money, they build and spend on projects 
  3. Additional consumer and government spending creates revenue for businesses which, in turn, hire more workers.

It’s a self-reinforcing cycle. More employees begets more employees.

As a rate shopper in California , this is an important understanding. Job loss was, in part, behind the big drop in mortgage rates since 2007. A weak economy drives investors away from equities and into safer securities such as mortgage bonds (which are backed by the U.S. government).

The excess demand causes mortgage rates to drop and that’s exactly what we’ve seen. Since late-2007, mortgage rates have been in decline.

In the first 11 months of 2011, though, 1.5 million people went back to work; the economy showed signs of shoring up and economic optimism is returning. Mortgage markets have temporarily ceded to the Eurozone, but with one more strong jobs report to close out the year, momentum could tip and stock markets could roll.

If that happens, mortgage rates will rise. Maybe by a lot.

This is why Friday’s Non-Farm Payrolls data is so important. Economists expect that 150,000 new jobs were created in December. If the government’s actual number is larger than that, prepare for higher mortgage rates.

Conversely, if job creation falls short of 150,000, mortgage rates may fall.

If the prospect of rising mortgage rates makes you nervous, remove your nerves from the equation. Call your loan officer and lock your rate ahead of Friday’s Non-Farm Payrolls release.

 | Posted by | Categories: The Economy | Tagged: , , |

What's next for housing in 2012As the new year begins, there are no shortage of stories telling us what to expect in 2012. Housing finished 2011 with momentum and mortgage rates closed at the lowest rates of all time.

Some expect those trends to continue through the first quarter and beyond. Others expect a rapid reversal.

Who’s right and who’s wrong? A quick look through the newspapers, websites and business television programs reveals “experts” with opposing, well-delivered arguments views. It’s tough to know who to believe.

For example, here are some “on-the-record” predictions for 2012 :

The issue for buyers, seller, and would-be refinancers in San Jose and nationwide is that it can be a challenge to separate a “prediction” from fact at times. 

When an argument is made on the pages of a respected newspaper or website, or is presented on CNBC or Bloomberg by a well-dressed, well-spoken industry insider, we’re inclined to believe what we read and hear.

This is human nature.

However, we must force ourselves to remember that any analysis about the future — whether it’s housing-related, mortgage-related, or something else — are based on a combination of past events and personal opinion.

Predictions are guesses about what might come next — nothing more.

For example, at the start of 2009, few people expected the 30-year fixed rate mortgage to stay below 6 percent, but it did. Then, at the start of 2010, few people expected the 30-year fixed rate mortgage to stay below 5 percent, but it did.

All we can know for certain about today’s market is that both mortgage rates and home values are low, creating favorable home-buying conditions in and around Cambrian and nationwide.

At that start of last year, few people expected mortgage rates to even reach 4 percent. Today, rates “with points” price in the 3s.

What 2012 has in store we just can’t know.

 | Posted by | Categories: The Economy | Tagged: , , |

Net new jobs created (2000 - 2011)

Have you been floating a mortgage rate? It may be time to lock.

At 8:30 AM ET Friday, the government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its November Non-Farm Payrolls report. Better known as “the jobs report”, the monthly Non-Farm Payrolls figures provide sector-by-sector employment data, and tally the size of the current U.S. workforce size.

From these two elements, the national Unemployment Rate is derived.

Since topping out at 10.2% in October 2009, the Unemployment Rate has dropped to 9.0%. More than 2.3 million net new jobs have been made in the last 24 months.

Wall Street expect to see 125,000 more jobs added in November.

Depending on how closely the actual Non-Farm Payrolls data meets Wall Street expectations, San Jose rate shoppers could find that the mortgage market landscape has shifted beneath them. The jobs report is a mortgage-market catalyst and when its reported value differs from Wall Street expectations, the impact on mortgage rates can be palpable — especially in a recovering economy.

The connection between the jobs market and the mortgage market is straight-forward — as the jobs market goes, so goes the economy.

  1. When more people work, consumer spending increases
  2. When consumer spending rises, businesses expand and invest
  3. When businesses expand and invest, more people are put to work

Furthermore, employees and employers both pay taxes to governments. With more tax revenue, governments embark upon new projects which (1) require the hiring of additional workers, and (2) require the purchase and/or repair of additional equipment and supplies. 

Employment can be a self-reinforcing cycle for the economy and that’s why Friday’s jobs report will be so closely watched. If the number of jobs created exceeds the 125,000 expected, mortgage rates will rise on the expectation for a stronger U.S. economy in 2012.

Conversely, if the jobs figures fall short, mortgage rates may fall. 

Mortgage rates continue to hover near all-time lows according to Freddie Mac’s weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey. The average 30-year fixed rate mortgage is sub-4.000 percent nationwide, with an accompanying fee of 0.7 discount points. 1 discount point is equal to 1 percent of your loan size.

If you’re under contract for a home or looking to refinance, minimize your interest rate risk. Lock ahead of Friday’s Non-Farm Payrolls release.

Get your rate lock in today.

Net new jobs created (2000 - 2011)

Have you been floating a mortgage rate? It may be time to lock.

At 8:30 AM ET Friday, the government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its November Non-Farm Payrolls report. Better known as “the jobs report”, the monthly Non-Farm Payrolls figures provide sector-by-sector employment data, and tally the size of the current U.S. workforce size.

From these two elements, the national Unemployment Rate is derived.

Since topping out at 10.2% in October 2009, the Unemployment Rate has dropped to 9.0%. More than 2.3 million net new jobs have been made in the last 24 months.

Wall Street expect to see 125,000 more jobs added in November.

Depending on how closely the actual Non-Farm Payrolls data meets Wall Street expectations, San Jose rate shoppers could find that the mortgage market landscape has shifted beneath them. The jobs report is a mortgage-market catalyst and when its reported value differs from Wall Street expectations, the impact on mortgage rates can be palpable — especially in a recovering economy.

The connection between the jobs market and the mortgage market is straight-forward — as the jobs market goes, so goes the economy.

  1. When more people work, consumer spending increases
  2. When consumer spending rises, businesses expand and invest
  3. When businesses expand and invest, more people are put to work

Furthermore, employees and employers both pay taxes to governments. With more tax revenue, governments embark upon new projects which (1) require the hiring of additional workers, and (2) require the purchase and/or repair of additional equipment and supplies. 

Employment can be a self-reinforcing cycle for the economy and that’s why Friday’s jobs report will be so closely watched. If the number of jobs created exceeds the 125,000 expected, mortgage rates will rise on the expectation for a stronger U.S. economy in 2012.

Conversely, if the jobs figures fall short, mortgage rates may fall. 

Mortgage rates continue to hover near all-time lows according to Freddie Mac’s weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey. The average 30-year fixed rate mortgage is sub-4.000 percent nationwide, with an accompanying fee of 0.7 discount points. 1 discount point is equal to 1 percent of your loan size.

If you’re under contract for a home or looking to refinance, minimize your interest rate risk. Lock ahead of Friday’s Non-Farm Payrolls release.

Get your rate lock in today.

Net new jobs created (2000 - 2011)

Have you been floating a mortgage rate? It may be time to lock.

At 8:30 AM ET Friday, the government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its November Non-Farm Payrolls report. Better known as “the jobs report”, the monthly Non-Farm Payrolls figures provide sector-by-sector employment data, and tally the size of the current U.S. workforce size.

From these two elements, the national Unemployment Rate is derived.

Since topping out at 10.2% in October 2009, the Unemployment Rate has dropped to 9.0%. More than 2.3 million net new jobs have been made in the last 24 months.

Wall Street expect to see 125,000 more jobs added in November.

Depending on how closely the actual Non-Farm Payrolls data meets Wall Street expectations, San Jose rate shoppers could find that the mortgage market landscape has shifted beneath them. The jobs report is a mortgage-market catalyst and when its reported value differs from Wall Street expectations, the impact on mortgage rates can be palpable — especially in a recovering economy.

The connection between the jobs market and the mortgage market is straight-forward — as the jobs market goes, so goes the economy.

  1. When more people work, consumer spending increases
  2. When consumer spending rises, businesses expand and invest
  3. When businesses expand and invest, more people are put to work

Furthermore, employees and employers both pay taxes to governments. With more tax revenue, governments embark upon new projects which (1) require the hiring of additional workers, and (2) require the purchase and/or repair of additional equipment and supplies. 

Employment can be a self-reinforcing cycle for the economy and that’s why Friday’s jobs report will be so closely watched. If the number of jobs created exceeds the 125,000 expected, mortgage rates will rise on the expectation for a stronger U.S. economy in 2012.

Conversely, if the jobs figures fall short, mortgage rates may fall. 

Mortgage rates continue to hover near all-time lows according to Freddie Mac’s weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey. The average 30-year fixed rate mortgage is sub-4.000 percent nationwide, with an accompanying fee of 0.7 discount points. 1 discount point is equal to 1 percent of your loan size.

If you’re under contract for a home or looking to refinance, minimize your interest rate risk. Lock ahead of Friday’s Non-Farm Payrolls release.

Get your rate lock in today.

Net new jobs created (2000 - 2011)

Have you been floating a mortgage rate? It may be time to lock.

At 8:30 AM ET Friday, the government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its November Non-Farm Payrolls report. Better known as “the jobs report”, the monthly Non-Farm Payrolls figures provide sector-by-sector employment data, and tally the size of the current U.S. workforce size.

From these two elements, the national Unemployment Rate is derived.

Since topping out at 10.2% in October 2009, the Unemployment Rate has dropped to 9.0%. More than 2.3 million net new jobs have been made in the last 24 months.

Wall Street expect to see 125,000 more jobs added in November.

Depending on how closely the actual Non-Farm Payrolls data meets Wall Street expectations, San Jose rate shoppers could find that the mortgage market landscape has shifted beneath them. The jobs report is a mortgage-market catalyst and when its reported value differs from Wall Street expectations, the impact on mortgage rates can be palpable — especially in a recovering economy.

The connection between the jobs market and the mortgage market is straight-forward — as the jobs market goes, so goes the economy.

  1. When more people work, consumer spending increases
  2. When consumer spending rises, businesses expand and invest
  3. When businesses expand and invest, more people are put to work

Furthermore, employees and employers both pay taxes to governments. With more tax revenue, governments embark upon new projects which (1) require the hiring of additional workers, and (2) require the purchase and/or repair of additional equipment and supplies. 

Employment can be a self-reinforcing cycle for the economy and that’s why Friday’s jobs report will be so closely watched. If the number of jobs created exceeds the 125,000 expected, mortgage rates will rise on the expectation for a stronger U.S. economy in 2012.

Conversely, if the jobs figures fall short, mortgage rates may fall. 

Mortgage rates continue to hover near all-time lows according to Freddie Mac’s weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey. The average 30-year fixed rate mortgage is sub-4.000 percent nationwide, with an accompanying fee of 0.7 discount points. 1 discount point is equal to 1 percent of your loan size.

If you’re under contract for a home or looking to refinance, minimize your interest rate risk. Lock ahead of Friday’s Non-Farm Payrolls release.

Get your rate lock in today.

Job growth since 2000

Within the next 48 hours, mortgage rates may get bouncy. The Federal Open Market Committee will adjourn from a 2-day meeting and October’s Non-Farm Payrolls report is due for release.

Of the two market movers, it’s the Non-Farm Payrolls report that may cause the most damage. Rate shoppers across California would do well to pay attention.

Published monthly, the “jobs report” provides sector-by-sector employment data from the month prior. It’s a product of the Bureau of Labor Statistics and includes the national Unemployment Rate.

In September, the economy added 103,000 jobs, and job creation from the two months prior was shown to be higher by 99,000 jobs higher than originally reported. This was a huge improvement over the initial August release which showed zero new jobs created.

When September’s jobs report was released, mortgage rates spiked. This is because of the correlation between jobs and the U.S. economy. There are a lot of economic “positives” when the U.S. workforce is growing.

  1. Consumer spending increases
  2. Governments start more projects
  3. Businesses make more investment

Each of these items leads to additional hiring, and the cycle continues.

Wall Street expects that 90,000 jobs were created in October 2011. If the actual number of jobs created exceeds this estimate, it will be considered a positive for the economy, and mortgage rates should climb as Wall Street dumps mortgage-backed bonds in favor of equities.

Conversely, if the number of new jobs falls short of 90,000, it will be considered a disappointment, and mortgage rates should rise.

There is a lot of risk in floating a mortgage rate today. The Federal Reserve could make a statement that drives rates higher, and Friday’s job report could do the same. If you’re under contract for a home or planning to refinance, eliminate your interest rate risk.

Lock your mortgage rate today.

Retail Sales 2008-2011

The American Consumer is alive and well, it seems.

Friday morning, the Census Bureau will release its Retail Sales figures for September. The report is expected to show an increase in gross receipts for the 15th straight month with analysts predicting a 0.6 percent increase from August.

The projected increase represents the largest jump in Retail Sales in six months and would likely lead mortgage rates higher for buyers in San Jose and   nationwide.

The connection between Retail Sales and mortgage rates is fairly straight-forward. Retail Sales are the majority component of “consumer spending” and consumer spending represents the majority of the U.S. economy — up to 70 percent, by some estimates.

And, as the economy goes, so go mortgage rates.

10 months ago, mortgage rates shot forward to start the year. This is because expectations were high for a strong economic rebound. Conforming and FHA rates crossed 5 percent at the time and were headed toward six.

By mid-April, though, it was clear that economic data was falling short of predictions. As a result, mortgage rates declined, kicking off the 2011 Refi Boom. Then, by August, on ongoing economic softness, mortgage rates in California fell further, making new all-time lows.

Expectations for a recovery have returned. Rates are now rising.

Last week’s strong jobs report sparked hope for the U.S. economy and investors have been voting with their dollars. Mortgage rates are now up 7 consecutive days and Friday’s Retail Sales report could cement the trend.

If you’re shopping mortgage rates today, there’s risk in “floating”. You may want to lock your rate before Friday’s Retail Sales report drives rates even higher.

The Retail Sales report will be released at 8:30 AM ET.

Estimated NFP results September 2009

Mortgage rates are prepped to make big moves in the next 36 hours. Is it time for you to call in your rate lock?

Friday, at 8:30 AM ET, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will release the Non-Farm Payrolls report for September. Issued monthly, the “jobs report” offers sector-by-sector job creation figures from the month prior, and reports on the national Unemployment Rate.

Last month, exactly zero net new jobs were created, the government said. This month, economists expect a net 60,000 new jobs created.

Depending on where the actual monthly figure falls, FHA and conforming mortgage rates in San Jose may be volatile. The jobs reports tends to have out-sized influence on the mortgage bond market.

The connection between the jobs market and the mortgage market is fairly straight-forward. As jobs go, so goes the economy. This is because more working Americans leads to a stronger economic base.

  1. When more people work, consumer spending grows
  2. When more people work, governments collect more taxes
  3. When more people work, household savings increases

Each of these items are strengths to a recovering economy.

For rate shoppers, Friday’s job report could cause mortgage rates to rise — or fall. If the actual number of jobs created exceeded the 60,000 consensus estimate, look for mortgage rates to climb.

Conversely, if new jobs fell short of 60,000, expect that rates will drop.

Home affordability is at all-time highs because mortgage rates are at all-time lows. If you’re under contract for a home or looking to refinance, eliminate some of your interest rate risk. Lock ahead of Friday’s Non-Farm Payrolls release.

Get your rate lock in today.